Blake Walsh

18 Best Things to Do in Indio, CA

  • Published 2021/12/01

Indio hosts a slew of well-known festivals and events throughout the year.

Today, Indio is Riverside County’s Coachella Valley’s most populous and fastest-growing city, with about 93,000 people.

It lies in the Sonoran Desert, which means it gets a lot of heat, warm temperatures, and very little rain.

Discover why Indio, often known as “The City of Festivals,” is such a popular destination for major events.

The city of Indio has a lot to offer, despite the city’s tiny size.

Because of this, it gathers about 1.4 million visitors each year.

It doesn’t matter if you’re looking for cultural events, multicultural food options, or outdoor adventure—Indio has it all.

The Coachella Valley Music and Arts Festival, which attracts as many as 250,000 visitors each year, is undoubtedly the city’s most famous claim to fame.

However, Indio has a lot more to offer than Coachella alone.

You won’t want to miss the city’s art, music, gastronomy, and outdoor activities!

Are you planning another vacation to Indio?

Here are the 18 best things to do in Indio, California:

Celebrate Coachella Valley Music and Arts Festival

View of Coachella Valley Music and Arts Festival

sachoben, CC BY-SA 2.0, via Wikimedia Commons

The Empire Polo Club in Indio, California, hosts the Coachella Valley Music and Arts Festival (often referred to as Coachella or the Coachella Festival) every year.

Art installations and sculptures are also part of the event, which includes artists from various genres of music, such as indie, rock, hip hop, and electro dance music.

View of Coachella Valley Music and Arts Festival

Alan Paone, CC BY 2.0, via Wikimedia Commons

There are several stages set up across the grounds to showcase live music.

Some of the notable artists who have performed at Coachella since 2001 include AC/DC, Guns n’ Roses, Red Hot Chili Peppers, Prince, Lady Gaga, and Paul McCartney.

It also featured Beyoncé, Kanye West, Ariana Grande, Radiohead, Snoop Dogg, and countless more.

Tour the Coachella Valley History Museum

Museums are the ideal place to explore Indio and the Coachella Valley’s history, whether you’re a history buff or just searching for some intriguing anecdotes.

Coachella Valley History Museum has a wide variety of exciting exhibits.

Visit this museum if you want to be familiar with the region’s first residents, and Southern Pacific Railroad’s significance, and the development of its villages and cities.

See historical displays on the region’s indigenous population, agriculture, and people and how they contributed to its growth.

You’ll find an ancient schoolhouse and blacksmith shop and several gardens on the property, some of which developed into Japanese gardens or desert landscapes.

The museum’s on-site guides are on hand to answer visitors’ inquiries and lead them around the exhibits.

Watch or Play Polo at Eldorado Polo Club

Visiting this Polo Club is one of the best activities in Indio for the whole family.

Audiences and contestants alike are welcome to join in on the fun.

Relax and unwind in its Clubhouse Restaurant or at the fieldside terrace outside the Cantina.

Meanwhile, the bar offers a wide variety of wines and liquors.

Children and adults may learn about polo and horseback riding at their polo and horseback riding academy.

There are eight official playing fields within the club and a stable that can house over 500 horses.

Have a Blast at Indio Teen Center

The Indio Teen Center is an excellent place for teens on vacation to have a good time!

It is a fantastic city-run after-school program for 8th through 12th graders.

The center has a game room, a boxing gym, a recording studio, an internet café, and a restaurant.

It also has a Counseling Center for those who need help.

At the Indio Teen Center, there are also daily educational events and activities with the friendly seniors from the Indio Senior Center.

The Indio Teen Center is also completely free to use!

Stroll Around Shields Date Garden

View of Shields Date Garden

Visitor7, CC BY-SA 3.0, via Wikimedia Commons

Wander around the 17-acre complex at your own pace today, and take as many photos as you wish; soak in the gorgeous environment.

As part of a comprehensive renovation of Shields Date Garden between 2011 and 2013, the location now features a separate Vancouver garden with several biblical figures.

On the winding road, 23 sculptures depict 14 successive scenes from Jesus Christ’s life.

You can also use your mobile phone to listen to a narration of what you see throughout your trip.

View of Shields Date Garden

Ken Lund from Reno, Nevada, USA, CC BY-SA 2.0, via Wikimedia Commons

Experience the Festivities in Riverside County Fairgrounds

Many fairs and festivals take place at the Fairgrounds throughout the year.

Since its inception in 1921, the Riverside County Fair has been the county’s most popular event.

Coachella Valley’s yearly date palm harvest is the focus of the celebration, which draws thousands of attendees.

It’s possible to participate in over 7,000 events and tournaments.

In addition to concerts by artists and comedians, there will be a crowning ceremony for the year’s date festival queen.

Place Your Bets at Fantasy Springs Resort Casino

If you’re looking for the ultimate gaming experience in Palm Springs, go no further than the Fantasy Springs Resort Casino.

More than 2,000 of the latest slots and video poker machines are available at the award-winning entertainment venue’s action-packed casino floor.

You’ll have a fantastic gaming experience here (thanks to the friendly hosts and dealers), and if luck is on your side, you can win one!

You may also visit the Springs Bar for a refreshing drink or sample any restaurant, watch a concert or event, or stay at the casino’s hotel afterward.

Take in Some Sunshine at Miles Avenue Park

Miles Avenue Park in Indio, California, is another excellent location for a family outing.

Aside from the abundance of BBQ spaces and picnic tables, the park has many additional family-friendly activities to try!

For families with young children, the park has a water play area and a playground.

In addition, there are a few basketball courts for people who like to play a game of hoops.

Take Photos With the Murals Around the City

Indio has a lot of character and charm, thanks primarily to its abundance of public art.

Indio is known for its large-scale murals, which are a unique style of public art.

These murals have become an integral part of Indio’s landscape, appearing all across Coachella Valley.

Local artists have painted several of them, which illustrate the city’s history and its residents.

During the Riverside County Date Festival, the paintings have become a must-see for visitors, attracting more tourists to the city!

Swing Your Club at Shadow Hills Golf Course

All levels of golfers may enjoy a day of playing golf in this well-kept desert course in Indio.

You may play on one of two separate courses surrounded by mountains and valleys at Shadow Hills, making it an ideal location for a round of golf.

The North Course features sand traps and water hazards, making it a more challenging course.

One of the most conventional 18-hole courses on the property, the South Course is more laid back and relaxed.

Even if you play both, you’ll have a great time regardless of whatever you select.

There is also a practice space, private instruction, and a café on site.

Enjoy Country Music at Stagecoach Festival

View of Stagecoach Festival

Laundry Week, CC BY-SA 3.0, via Wikimedia Commons

This country music extravaganza, held in conjunction with the Coachella Valley Music and Arts Festival, is the top-grossing music fest in the world.

Each year, it features different country music genres such as alternative country, country rock, heartland rock, and southern rock.

Taylor Swift, Shania Twain, Willie Nelson, Tim McGraw, Blake Shelton, Keith Urban, and Brad Paisley performed in previous years.

The inaugural Stagecoach festival took place in 2007, and since then, it has attracted thousands of visitors.

The venue also includes amenities such as on-site camping during the festival.

Catch Desert Theatreworks’ Live Performance in Indio Performing Arts Center

This performing arts center houses the organization called Desert Theatre Works (DTW).

It is Coachella Valley’s leading non-profit award-winning theatrical group.

DTW has produced 45 mainstage plays, 25 special events, and garnered several honors and accolades since its pioneering production in July 2013.

In addition to educational programs and community activities, this structure provides space for various functions.

Have a Picnic at George S. Patton Park

There’s another family-friendly park in Indio: George S. Patton Park.

Families with young children will enjoy the park’s vast grassy area and a small playground, both well-shaded.

Two picnic and BBQ areas provide enough tables for you and your loved ones to eat together.

Sports facilities, such as a basketball court and a tennis court, are available for people who choose to be active.

Check out the George S. Patton Park on your next vacation to Indio!

Shop Local Finds at Maclin’s Open Air Markets

At the Riverside County Fairgrounds in Indio, California, you’ll find the second-largest open-air market in Maclin’s history.

It’s only a short drive from Palm Springs, but this night market boasts some of the best deals in town.

A bazaar-like vibe fills the area.

Fairgrounds in Southern California are known for their unique architectural style, which is reminiscent of Moroccan cities.

In the palm-tree-lined parking lot of the fairgrounds, the market has overflowed.

Thousands of people come to this venue on Wednesdays and Saturdays to visit more than 400 merchants.

You may enjoy the sunset while purchasing “fresh from the field” vegetables from the merchants harvested the previous morning.

If you’re out shopping for food, don’t forget to pick up some local dates.

There are several aisles to peruse, and the moon serves as an excellent guide to help you find bargains for the entire family.

Many people also come here to dine with their friends with a selection of snacks and regional cuisine.

The open-air market charges a modest entry fee for customers.

Let Your Furry Friend Have a Stretch at Mulligan Dog Park

If you’re planning a trip to Indio, don’t forget to bring your pet along for the experience.

At this dog park, you and your pets are guaranteed to have a great time!

With an abundance of shade from the trees and a vast grassy area, the dog park provides plenty of room for your dog to run about and have fun.

Dogs of all sizes are welcome in the park, which has dedicated spaces for different breeds of dogs.

Dog owners may have a hassle-free experience at the park, thanks to amenities like baggies for quick cleanup and drinking faucets on both sides of the park!

Chill at Big Rock Pub

At Big Rock Pub in Indio, you can see the finest of Indio’s local music scene.

Music fans and prominent local artists get together here to listen to live rock and enjoy a refreshing drink.

An eclectic mix of rock memorabilia is displayed in the trendy design, while the pub kitchen provides a choice of meals and snacks.

The drink menu offers a wide range of drinks as well.

See Notable Works at the Coachella Valley Art Center

Founded by the Coachella Valley Arts Alliance, the Coachella Valley Art Center (CVAC) is an innovative, non-profit venue for the Arts that serves artists of all levels, from experienced professionals to aspiring artists.

The CVAC is home to the regions’ artists and offers classes in glass blowing, kiln glass, metal sculpture/welding, and other techniques.

Cap Off Your Visit by Unwinding at Indio Spa

Guests at Indio Spa may expect outstanding service from a team of highly educated and experienced personnel.

During all of the treatments, the spa uses heated massage tables, heated eye pillows, heated therapy, and heated lotion.

Massage, facials, exfoliations and wraps, CBD treatments, special events and spa packages for groups, and more are all available at Indio Spa to benefit customers’ well-being.

It also offers deep tissue, prenatal, Aroma Bliss, and couples massages that provide an intimate experience with your significant other.

Final Thoughts

Indio’s “City of Festivals” nickname should give you a good idea of what to expect from your trip there.

Even if you’re not a big fan of art, fantastic music, or delicious food, this vibrant city has something for you!

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